Leona Lewis’ new album is ‘I Am.’ Much anticipated, it’s her first release with a new record label after leaving Simon Cowell’s Syco. What do the critics have to say of her new direction? Here’s a roundup.
At lost last, Leona Lewis returns with a new album, with a new record label, having publicly split from Simon Cowell’s Syco label at Sony. The now 30-year-old powerhouse singer who rose to fame years ago as The X Factor UK winner and went on to dazzle us in the late ’00s with her haunting song ‘Bleeding Love.’ And yes, she is back. The long awaited album ‘I Am’ is her first since 2013’s ‘Christmas, With Love.’
Having signed a new record deal with Island Records, and working with a new producer Toby Gad, she forged a new path, and declared artistic independence and freedom, a move that has been inspiring in the vastly over-commercialized music world that sees hit singles simultaneously become jingles for television and online advertising.
She said at a listening session several months ago, according to Billboard that her new album was about “me finding my own power again.”
And thus the title, quite strongly asserts ‘I Am.’ In a recent interview, she reflected upon what it was like working with industry legends Simon Cowell and Clive Davis at Sony, saying, “To find your voice with those two is very difficult.” She went on to add, “You really have to grow a pair. I definitely learned a lot from them being big mentors to me. It tested me in my inner strength. They made me a strong artist who is able to speak up for myself. It was time for me to go and flex my muscles and do my thing.”
Now what do critics have to say of her musical independence and her following her hard fought artistic freedom? Here’s a roundup.
“….For all intents and purposes, I Am is Leona’s break-up album. Having worked closely with Toby Gad, she has created a concentrated record with a solid voice throughout that positions her as songwriter with something to say. The mixture of both Leona’s frustration and determination leave her more vulnerable than we’ve heard her before, but ultimately she comes through stronger than ever….” — Digital Spy
“….It goes without saying that I Am is a compelling record that is filled to the brim with confessional lyrics, and the one thing that we love is that Leona doesn’t hold back in how she feels. Maybe that’s something that we have missed in the past, as although Leona has always been about the voice, maybe we haven’t had that essence of honesty. ….” —
“….. I Am may be slightly flawed by design, but there are still many “yaaasssss” moments, enough to make you hope her next go ’round doesn’t take as long. ….” — Idolator
“….Tinny, timid production makes I Am sound like it was recorded at home but Lewis’s vocals are still anodyne cruise-ship fare and she still mistakes caterwauling for emotion…..” – Evening Standard
You can see the official music video for ‘Fire Under My Feet’ below; the album’s lead single. While its inspirational message drew many fans, it remains to be seen how the public at large responds to the new, and liberated Leona Lewis and her ‘I Am’ album. But at least the long wait is over.
Pictures: PR Photos